"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, December 15, 2013

3.5 WEEKS

Well here I am 3.5 weeks out and just thinking of the pain of all of this makes me want to puke.  I'm just gonna tell you if you wrecked your knee when you were 17 and when you are 40 they tell you it's time to replace it, Do It. Do not wait until you are 58 and perhaps are dealing with another one of life's curve balls, like MS.  Just sayin. Should be obvious. I was still having too darn much fun with my knee in my 40s to bother. 

PT is an interesting form of torture, the government should really try it out on people they want to get info out of.   I am getting out a bit, got a haircut and went to rite aid woo hoo. Doing PT homework. I vacuumed today. Knitting, x stitch. I might make the bed tomorrow. Walking with a walker still, so afraid of falling. Walked with a cane for a bit, it feels scary. I'm losing more weight because food repulses me, figure that out.  I'm living on small meals, as much protein as I can stand, and fudgsicles.  I'm getting by and soon our young peeps will be here for Xmas. 

I figure this will all be done by the time I get back to the lake in April. That's what keeping me going. That and dear Dave's constant care. 

An observant blogging visitor asked why my incision is not straight up the middle, as they typically are in TKR.  It's cuz I just have to be different.  No, seriously it's is because I had some pretty fierce scars on my knee from the first surgery, on either side of my knee cap, the largest one on the interior side.  If they had sewn straight up the middle there was no knowing what those old scars on the sides would do.  So, they had a plastic surgeon in the OR who removed the scar tissue on the inside of my knee so they could incise and stitch there on fresh ground.  There was so much more I wanted that plastic surgeon to do, but I woke up without a tummy tuck, so I guess there wasn't time.  Since I'll never go near an OR again, I missed my chance.  





Sunday, December 8, 2013

SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Life goes on here, hmmm, the world didn't stop for me to heal.  Today I showered carefully on my own, yippee!  Since I've been using a shower chair for years due to MS, we had the proper technology on hand.  

And, this afternoon during football, that fluffy remains

Except she has again changed locations AND she has put on her sweater against the raw New England rain.  She's helping me out by displaying my post-surgery knitting project.  I have been concentrating on very simple projects, and after making about 50 of them, I tired of dish cloths.  So, I moved onto a scarf.  Easy pattern… in spite of that I find myself ripping out way too much, as my mind wanders to my knee instead of to the task at hand.  

Time and ice are my allies now, and they are working well enough.  I hate to wish away time…. but sometimes we each do, and right now I am wishing it was two weeks from now.  

Friday, December 6, 2013

TODAY'S VIEW

Oh, how I wish Today's View was of the lake.  It is not.  You probably won't see a view of the lake or of a quilt until April or so.  Sigh.  I look forward to the spring so much, as we have peepers on the lake, and that is another song from my childhood that fills me with joy as an adult.  Spring peepers.  

Nope, today's view is:
A filleted knee.  I think it looks a bit better, don't you?  LOL.  Better is certainly a relative term. This is at about two weeks post-op and is for educational purposes only!  I am not a doctor nor do I play one on my Blog.  If you are going to have a knee replacement, you can take heart in the fact that your incision will not be this big, nor will it be this shape.  The surgery that I had on my knee 40 years ago made this surgery a bit different than your average Total Knee Replacement.  

My sister Christine is having a TKR (her second) next Tuesday.  She is a brave soldier and I am sure will get through this with little fanfare or noise.  That's who and how she is.  She had her first TKR 7 years ago.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

IT CHANGED LOCATION!!

Well the most exciting thing thus far this week is that the white fluffy has changed positions on my body, moving from my lap to my chest, where it snuggles into my Lanz bathrobe.
Who doesn't love a Lanz robe or nightie?  What a treat it was to find one under the tree as a child, as all our clothes were made by my mom, so a piece of clothing with a tag was a special treat. Silly us, those homemade nighties were probably 100% better than the store bought and 1/8 the price.

 In spite of that I remain a Lanz fan and head online to The Vermont Country Store for my occasional fix.  Perhaps next time I have one for the rag pile (that takes a hundred years and a million washings) I'll sew a Lanz nightie for my white fluffy friend. 



Sunday, December 1, 2013

NEW KNEE!

On November 20, I got that new knee I'd waited so long for. Another lesson in be careful what you wish for...

I know, thanks for that visual. This picture was about one week post op.... if you think this is ugly, you should see the photo taken on day 3. This is such a painful surgery, I don't know how others come through it so gracefully.  I thus far have not. With MS, there are no safe nerve blocks and so I missed out on that luxury. And since narcotics and opioids make me puke, pain relief has been elusive. This has been very difficult on our household.  I hope that as two weeks post op arrives, the situation will improve. If it doesn't...I'll wait. 

I am up and around the house with a walker and have visiting nurses, physical therapists and home care coming and going constantly. The PT is nothing short of torture and most days I think "ya know it doesn't matter to me if my knee never bends again, I'm good, you can leave now."  

Now, every surgery is very different on every person…. but I am going to tell you that if your knee kinda hurts and gosh you think maybe you need a replacement…. do your homework and do it well.  A smart surgeon will come and tell you straight out--this is probably one of the most painful orthopedic surgeries we perform.  

I was beyond having any choice about a knee replacement, as we replaced a knee that suffered a pretty significant injury and surgery 40 years ago.  Post surgery, the surgeon told us "it was a horrible in there."  

Strangest outcome of the surgery is the fluffy white thing they apparently surgically attached to me
This is what my lap looks like ALL THE TIME!  When I stand up or take a shower it does somehow detach itself, but otherwise, this is what my lap looks like post surgery. This growth is really rather cute but is a bit demanding.  I hope that behavior diminishes along with the pain. 

Most of all, I hope that before long I'll have some quilting to share.  For now I'm enjoying hopping around your blogs!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

XMAS PROJECTS!

1/31/2014:  Since a few people have asked for the name of this pattern, I have added a picture of the legend on the instructions to the bottom of this post.  Louise reports that she was able to find the directions using the information in the picture.  Happy Sewing!

As I spend this time locked down in the house, avoiding the myriad of illnesses floating around the community, I am getting a few Christmas projects done.  Although I'm starting to feel a bit cooped up, I will do anything to make sure I am good for my knee replacement November 21.  Getting bounced back in September, due to a wicked viral cold, was the only nervous breakdown I care to engage in this year.  

So, I knit and X Stitch and sew.  I am making table runners for a few dear ones, and although I can't picture all of them, as I'd be giving away a Xmas surprise, I can show you one that I've made for a friend who doesn't come to blog land.  

You just can't lose when working with batiks, at least I can't, it's so easy to blend so many lovely fabrics without worrying about matching anything.  They do keep me very honest at the cutting table, as they lack the stretch that helps to forgive cutting sins.  It's been nice to work on these small projects, my last few have been humongous.  



For anyone interested in this pattern, here's a picture of the legend on the directions:

THIS IS WHY I KNIT INTRICATE AFGHANS WITH EXPENSIVE YARN


Monday, October 7, 2013

FOR PAUL

Every once in a while I toss out a "How to Make a Quilt" post.  Not because you all need them, but because I like to share how it is that I make a quilt and perhaps inspire and amuse along the way.  

The first step in my quilt making it to identify who my next project is going to.  This is important, and if you go through my blog, you will see that I give 95% of my quilts to friends and family as gifts.. of love.  

Once I know who the next quilt will envelope, I think of that person very seriously and do my best to match the quilt to the person.  The Green Paw, which I am sending off to the quilter soon, I made for my husband Dave.  I thought so long and hard about him and the quilt.  And, I got the match down just right--the green leaves of Western Pennsylvania, where he grew up, the traditional Bear's Paw, so familiar to him, and the contemporary touches to bridge that gap between the simple life growing up in Western PA to the spot where he landed, here with me in New England.  

Now that the paw is done, I am moving onto a new project.  I have identified the loved one
Our dear son, Paul.  
It was a year ago that I picked out the fabrics and design for Paul's quilt, and today I started laying out all those beautiful fabrics
The Blueberry Tonga Treats Collection, Timeless Treasures 
I chose these fabrics because they are Paul, with names such as Sage, Stone, Jungle, Sky, Earth, Moss, Maize.  As an avid outdoorsman, these are the colors and things he surrounds himself with, and now I can capture them all in a quilt for him.  

The quilt design is very similar to Kaffe Fassett's Diagonal Madness, which I previously made for dear friends John and Nancy.  This batik version is nothing like the original DM, which colors would not have suited Paul and who he is.  Instead, it's a quilt that captures his love of nature using the medium of fabric.  And, I hope it also shows him that I definitely get it, this love of all things outdoors, and that this means more to me than he will ever know.  
Thank you Poppy for holding the pattern in place for me.  
A few important steps I left out of this post:  

1.  Embrace your OCD
2.  Go out and buy the most expensive fabric you can find.  It's really good if you pick a discontinued line, because then you feel compelled to buy at least 1/3 too much in case of errors.  
3.  Take all that lovely fabric and cut it into all kinds of pieces.
4.  Sew it all back together using the most complicated graph on the face of the planet.  Make sure you are using a sewing machine that cost a million dollars.  
5.  Obsess over every seam, placement, thread, and take as long as you want.  Ripping out seams is an important step, even if there's nothing that needs ripping out, you should do it anyways.  Ripping out seams is not optional.  You must do it.  
6.  Once it's done, spend a bunch more money to have a long-armer sew a pattern over all of your lovely work.

And, then, my friends, share your love.  



Sunday, October 6, 2013

A MISTY SWEATER

I am finishing up a number of nearly done projects. Love that feeling, don't you?

One of my first finishes is a new sweater for Misty. As the cold New England weather slowly creeps in, the girl needed a nice new winter garment. I had knit the pieces over the summer so only had to assemble them. 

I knit this with a Cascade 100% washable wool yarn left over from some hat making. The pattern has hearts knit in between the ribs, a warm chest panel and snug turtleneck. Misty is very pleased!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

OH BOY PART TWO

Well, friends, tonight my right knee looks the same as it does in the photo below.  I got bounced out of the surgery this morning!  A bunch of young pups with brand new white coats (it's a teaching hospital) decided the sniffles I have left over from a cold last week were too serious to allow me to go in... To a surgery that doesn't require general anesthesia and which is a merger 1.5-2 hours long. 

Well, I guess they have to learn somewhere somehow.  I hope that today they learned something this morning by watching a 57 year old patient with MS fall apart before their very eyes.  At the very least, I truly hope they have learned to call a social worker when something like this occurs. 

There is an invitation to take another run at this on October 10 and as soon as my headache and fatigue subsides and the swelling in my eyes go down, I shall address that. The surgeon I am with is the cream of the crop and I am lucky to have him invite me to a private party on October 10, which is not a usual surgical day for him.  

I am wicked tired. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

OH BOY

Here we go!  On Wednesday this scarred and badly beaten knee will be totally replaced. I have squeezed everything I can out of it, so time to get a new one to beat up.  

 It is kind of fun when one of the many healthcare workers involved asks me "how long have you had pain in this knee?" And I answer "since1973" and then I just smile at them. It was in 1973 that the cartilage was removed from my knee after an exhilarating toboggan ride that ended in a bit of a crash. In spite of that, I have had a great 40 years of an active life without that cartilage. Now it has to be replaced, there is no choice.  

I have my game face on and am saying "bring it on" but ya know that this is really going to cramp my style for a bit.  


Monday, September 16, 2013

BEFORE AND AFTER

I hesitated to write this post, but decided to do so with the hope that my story and pictures may inspire someone to do as I have done. 

What I have done is gone from this:
 To This
in four months time.  I owe Anna an apology for allowing my weight to go so far out of control just in time for her college graduation:  Sorry Anna!

Now, 30 pounds lighter, I am no longer embarrassed or ashamed and it's once again safe for the family to point a camera at me.  

We all know that diets do not work.  So, it wasn't a diet that kicked my substantial butt into gear, it was health.  It was a primary care physician telling me that diabetes is a mere 5 years or less away if I continued on the path I was on.  So, with the help of a glucometer and her patient educator, I got a grip.  I am never hungry, I am off nearly all carbs, and I can move around a lot more comfortably.  

We all have different motivators, there's no magic spell or fairy dust to set on ourselves to motivate.  Working with a great primary care physician is a good first step, I think.  

Perhaps I will lose more, time will tell.  But, I am not looking so much at pounds as at blood glucose readings 2 times a day, and they are perfect, without any medications.  

There are some health conditions we can control, diabetes being one of them.  There are many we cannot.  I felt very motivated to be in control of the one I could control.  

Saturday, September 14, 2013

LABOR DAY WEEKEND

Labor Day weekend was lots of fun at the lake, we had special visits from Paul and from Anna, who came from California with her boyfriend Ryan.  On Sunday afternoon, a few of Anna's friends from Beverly came up to the lake for a visit, it was wonderful to be surrounded by all of this young energy.  

The weather wasn't perfect, but the weekend was. Anna and Ryan wanted a good thunderstorm, as it never rains in Southern California.  Their wish was granted Sunday night with hours of thunderstorms and rain moving across southern New Hampshire.    With the wall of windows facing the lake, and our elevation above the lake, AND the skylights, we often turn off all the lights in the house during a thunderstorm and enjoy the show.  And, that's exactly what was done on that Sunday night.  

There were lobsters and cookouts, swimming and boating, nature watching and lots of laughter. I got Anna and Ryan into my boat and out on the lake to watch one of the pairs of loons with it's chick.  Being from California, Ryan was unfamiliar with the iconic New England Great Northern Loon, and it was fun to introduce him to something so dear to my heart.  

It was a lovely time.  I just wish it could have lasted longer.

Somehow we missed the opportunity for a family photo, which is pretty dumb, as its not often we have the four of us in one place at one time.  But, we did get snippets here and there.  

Anna cruising the lake in my boat.  
By the time we thought of a family photo, Paul had gone home.
I bet there's a magic editing thing we can do to get him in.  
Anna  giving Ryan and Beverly friend Kiersten
a lift from Christine's dock back home to ours.
Paul (with the fabulous hair) was spotted enjoying a  cookout at my sister's camp
with my niece Caryl and her husband Jake.  The cookout was held in honor
of Chris's mother in law's 92d birthday, and it was a marvelous celebration.

Anna and Ryan, who got a real big dose of the East Coast
and our whacky family.  I don't think we scared him off, but
it might have been close.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

AN EVENING ON THE LAKE

The air is so thick here in Southern New Hampshire, it felt like a good night for a cruise, and so we did.  And, it was lovely.  

Keds!  Can you get through a summer without them?  I sure can't!






The most beautiful sight of the evening a loon chick all on his/her own, swimming
and fishing.  It would appear he's out from under his momma's wing and ready to go.  

VISITORS AT THE LAKE

There are so many wonderful things about living in a lake house, and one of those delights is the visitors.  Visiting us at our full time home is a ho-hum experience, but at the lake house.. well, people do not hesitate to make the drive and enjoy the lake.  

Last week my longest-standing best friend, Scott, came for a three days, and of course he brought along his LARGE black lab mix Pongo, adopted 6 weeks ago.  I did not get a picture of Pongo, he is camera shy.  If you point a camera at him, he leaves the building.  

Not so for Scott and I, and here we are.  
I met Scott when I was in grade school.  We became young friends while skating on a local pond, and remained friends through middle school, high school, college, and obviously beyond.  He is Uncle Scott to our children, and to me he is my dear, dear, friend who knows and understands me, as I do him.  I am so grateful to have him and his partner Paul (who couldn't make the trip here) in our lives.  

I must add that Scott and I always have adventures and fun when together.  And, somehow someone always gets knocked around in the process.  The knee I'm having replaced in September?  Scott and I, along with four other passengers, ran a toboggan into a chain link fence when we were 17.  The cartilage in my knee was torn up and removed and that knee is totally done now.  

The tear in the rotator cuff of my right shoulder?  Body surfing with Scott on Fire Island, NY, where Scott and his friends rented a house for years and I visited for a week each summer for years.  This injury was one of those that my kids would describe as "it's all a whole lotta fun until someone gets hurt.... then it's hysterical," because I remember how we laughed when I untangled myself from the ocean and came up with sand and scrapes all over.  I didn't have that shoulder fixed and probably never will.  When I swim or row and my shoulder screams, I remember that wave and that tumble and the sun, sand, and our laughter, and I smile.  

This spring Scott visited me at my home and while visiting a tooth abscessed on him... talk about PAIN.  Which led to Scott needing pain meds and ending up blasted and sick.  It was not pretty, but was a bit hysterical.  

This trip, Scott and I escaped unscathed, but dear Pongo tore a toenail off below the cuticle while learning to swim.  He is a good swimmer!  But, a bit too enthusiastic and thus the torn off toenail.  What a mess.  We are praying for rain to wash the yard before this weekend's visitors arrive, as it was a bit of a blood bath for poor Pongo, who had to go to the vet for a pressure dressing.  

I hope that you are lucky, as I am, to have a friend in your life as long as I have had Scott in mine.  It is a blessing unlike any other... aside from the danger involved.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

IT IS JUST ALL TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

Paul visiting. 

Cousin cookouts.  Christine and me with cousin Richard and dear wife Karen. 

Sunsets.

Me and my sister's names on the sign for our lake association.  Living closer to one another than we have in 40 years.  She's the Horne and I am the Mourer. We started out life as Michauds. 



Monday, August 12, 2013

OLD DOG NEW TRICKS

A friend who recently paid a visit to us at the lake sent us the collage shown in the previous post, using an App called Pix Stitch.  

I have downloaded that app onto my I Phone and I figured out how to use it in about 10 seconds.  I surprised myself, making a collage of a few recent scenes from the lake.  
And, yes I am tan I am very tan.  I cover myself head to toe in #40 every morning.  And, I come out tan.  It's a combination of my French Canadian heritage, my younger days of tanning, and mostly the number of meds I'm on that leave me photo-sensitive.  Without the sunscreen, I would look like a lobster I am sure.  I'm holding back as much sun exposure as I can.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

SUMMERTIME!

For the first time in over 10 years, I am enjoying summer time.  And this is why:
The lake house, that is why.  When we bought our slice of heaven, we didn't realize what a positive impact it would have on all of us (Me, Dave, 3 dogs, 2 cats).  We knew it would be fun, we didn't know it would be nearly life changing.  

I am able to be outdoors all the time, and that is something I lost to MS years ago due to the unsuitable terrain and climate at our full-time home.  Now, I have easy access to swimming, rowing my boat, motoring my boat with the silent electric motor, and spending time with family and friends who visit.  My sister Christine has a camp 10 doors down the lake.  When she is here with her two grandsons, we have a routine in the morning that I go down in my row boat and have morning swim time.  I have built up a lot of lost strength and also have lost 26 pounds with the increase in activity and by eliminating carbs from my diet.  Those times when activity is not what I need, I sit on our deck overlooking the lake, watching for the local eagles, loons, osprey, hawks and the hummingbirds at our feeder.  I never tire of watching the lake and the wildlife, as each moment there is something new to observe.  

Yes, the heat waves in July were very difficult on me, my heat intolerance did not and will not change.  Heat waves happen here less often than at home, so the uncomfortable days that I simply must get through are fewer.  We have room air conditioners in the lake house, and will be adding central a/c before next summer.  

Dave is working out of the lake house and is more relaxed than usual with his job.  When he is done with his work day he is able to putter to his heart's content.  Here he has the time to learn how to fix things and build things, and this brings him a lot of satisfaction.  He loves his motorboat and the swimming, fishing and wildlife, and the time we have with family.  And, I know that watching me in the outdoors, where I belong and where he first found me, has also brought him great joy.  

The cats are living large in this house with beams and a loft and all kinds of vertical space up high.  Since I believe so strongly that an animal that we choose to domesticate should be allowed to do what comes to them instinctively, I have always provided my cats with as much climbing and high spaces as I can, and cats like to be UP! and here they certainly are:
Reesie

Poppy

The cat tree we bought and tucked in a corner--from here they access all of the  high spaces
in the house.  They can walk the beams, relax on the top of the spare bedroom closet, or
go in the inner windows to the sleeping loft.

 As for the dogs, it's heaven of course, and they are being dogs.  Miss Bella has returned to her roots as a miniature schnauzer, digging to try to eradicate the yard of moles.  I don't know if she's caught any, but she's dug a lot of holes and has earned herself the nickname of "pig pen."  In the heat waves she did what a dog ought to do, dug herself one huge hole and laid in it, against the cool rock wall.  This hole is about 2 feet deep and growing.  She couldn't be happier.  
Now, I don't have a picture of Miss Cassy doing her thing at the lake, and shame on me for that.  She is the leader of the pack for guarding the property, and any boat that comes too close to our dock is greeted properly.  Everyone on the lake knows both Cassy and Bella now, as they blast down from the house to the end of the dock to greet all passersby.  Cassy is also our shore patrol, as she's gotten a bit OCD about the small fish at the shore.  Ever since she saw Dave pull a few in on a rod, she has spent HOURS on the shore wall staring into the water, watching, watching, watching.  It's what she does and is happy to do so.  

Little Misty is doing what she loves best, spending every moment with me.  She is also getting more activity, and has improved her prance and also has shown that if there is something stinky to roll in, she'll be the first one on it.  She IS a dog, after all


The simplicity and one floor living with minimal "stuff" in my environment suits me well.  With a great reduction in "input," my cognitive deficiencies do not push me to my limits as often.  Even the simple elimination of the noise of a TV has helped.  Although the MS symptoms didn't disappear upon moving to the lake, they are more under control, and I am able to use my energy on things other than house keeping.  With the simple country roads and few cars in the area on weekdays, I am able to drive to the Post Office for our mail each day.  Since there are no lunatics talking on phones, drinking coffee, etc., driving as fast as possible to get to where they are going, I can easily do short errands on our quiet roads.  This little bit of freedom feels so good.  It was funny one day when I realized that I am doing something I have wanted to do my entire life:  I am living in the country.  

I do have a sewing area within the spare bedroom, and it works perfectly.  I am finishing two quilts to take to the quilter.  I am also knitting a lot, enjoying my work on this lap afghan 
This pattern is called Umaro and is available from Brooklyn Tweed.
It is knit with Cascade Yarns Lana Grande, 100% Peruvian Highland Wool,
which is super bulky and super soft.  

I do have my X stitch project here with me 
Paperchains from Tam's Creations
However, I do not spend a lot of time cross stitching.  It is too difficult to follow the chart while glancing at the lake every 5 seconds, as I do.  

Soon enough we will be returning to home, as we prepare for my knee replacement at the end of September.  When I was 17 I had a tobogganing accident that tore up the cartilage in my right knee.  Back in those days, there was no microsurgery, so they just opened up the knee and took out every speck of cartilage they could find, whether damaged or not.  40 years of using that knee in that condition have worn it out completely.  I have gotten my money's worth out of that one, and so it will be replaced.  

Until then, we savor every day on the lake, and know that we will live here year round at some point.  The simple outdoor life suits us well and we feel pretty blessed to have found a way to enjoy this chapter in our lives, with Paul and Anna off on their own, and with Dave's retirement on the horizon.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

A BEACH QUILT

I am finishing off a couple of quilts to send to the long-armer.  The first one is a beach quilt for Anna, our beach baby.  I made it out of men's striped dress shirts, 4" squares and 7.5" squares.  
 I hadn't originally planned to add the border of blue-striped squares, but I had the pile of them sitting there already to go and so just went with it.  For the corners on the border I added the whimsical fish squares.  I'm not sure if I like that either!  
 When cutting the shirts for the quilt, I captured as many details as I could, such as logos:

 And pockets:
The backing is to be blue ticking and the "batting" will be an old cotton blanket, as batting would not hold up well to being repeatedly soaked, sanded and dragged.  

A RIDE IN THE CAR!

For those of you in my age group, you likely remember the days when Dad would announce that on Sunday afternoon "we will go for a ride in the car."  Cool Beans, a ride in the car!  Those were fabulous rides, to exotic locations, like an apple orchard or a cow farm.  

If I had ever said to my kids, "this afternoon's activity shall be a ride in the car!" they would have sent me to have my head examined.  

So, I am pleased that there is still a segment of the population that enjoys a ride in the car.  And, of course, I am speaking of dogs.  

Yesterday was the day to move it all, lock, stock, barrel, dogs and cats, up to the lake.  Of course, when you say to a dog "let's go for a ride in the car!" you get the type of response you would have gotten out of us as children, "COOL BEANS!"  Cats, well, not quite the same, however, I didn't know for sure, as I don't take my cats anywhere.  

So, we loaded the car, with me, Misty Dawg, and Bella Dawg in the back seat, with Reesie kitten and Poppy kitten in their crates tucked in around us.  This is what it looked like:
Now, if you are familiar with my pack, you might be wondering where is Cassy Dawg?  Oh, she's riding shotgun because if you try to drive her any other way she will go mental.  If I sit on the front seat she will spend the ride hopping on me, dancing on my bladder.  Yes, I know all about car restraints, and crates and all that.... but if you knew Cassy you'd know why we do what we have to do.  I hold her leash that Dave snakes through the head rest bars, and the air bag is off, that's the best we can do.  

The cats surprised us, as at first it wasn't looking good when Dave first loaded Reesie in her crate in the car before any of us were yet in, and she went mental.  But, as soon as we got the rest of we back seat riders in, she settled down and it was an incredibly peaceful ride.  

I'd say the power of the pack worked for us.  Now are all settled and happy and so glad to be all together in such a magnificent spot.